Films in Faulkner Country

Clouds Cover Everything screened over the weekend in Oxford, Mississippi at the Oxford Film Festival. Not a bad experience overall, though I was a little underwhelmed by the music video program. Who knows, maybe it is a dying medium.

Fortunately, I was able to avoid completely the initial salvos in what’s blooming into a full-scale film blogger air war. I have a pretty robust imagination but I doubt I could conjure up anything more tedious than a feud between film bloggers. I did manage to actually meet some filmmakers and see films; well-crafted, entertaining and surprisingly thoughtful films. Some that stuck with me were…

Make-Out With Violence
Ostensibly a zombie movie, this feature was made by a cluster of high school friends in the suburbs of Nashville, and shows more nuance and tonal dexterity than anything alleged wunderkind Richard Kelly is capable of these days. Weighty themes like death, unrequited love and body objectification are handled with a witty and ridiculously assured touch by The Deagol Brothers. No, they’re not brothers and no, they’re not named Deagol. Next stops are SF Indiefest and SXSW, so keep an eye peeled.

Luke and Brie Are on a First Date
Whatever one’s opinion of mumblecore, it can’t be denied that there’s a kind of free-flowing vitality to the successful examples of the genre. If it’s narcissistic to enjoy dialogue that sounds directly transcribed from one’s own clumsy bachelorhood, then proceed with the catcalls of, “égoïste!” Seriously, go ahead, frenchy. With synopsis conveniently encased within title, director/co-writer Chad Hartigan and leads/co-writers George Ducker and Meghan Webster manage to transform a night-long conversation that could easily have felt trite into an amiable, unpretentious tale of budding affection.

Food Fight
Chris Taylor is a fascinating guy and he blends a keen understanding of the geopolitical factors behind our current food crisis with a genuine, clear-eyed interest in what his subjects have to say. It doesn’t hurt that his subjects are heavyweights in the sustainable food movement. It also doesn’t hurt that, as a former Director of Photography, he knows how to put together some beautiful-looking images (including plenty of classic Tee-Vee commercial hilarity). An extremely accessible documentary about an increasingly serious problem.

There were other highlights, like The Last Lullaby, Made in Japan and the stuff that The Code crew is working on in Jackson, but I’ll leave the writing about film to those who actually write about film. If they ever get around to it.

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